Playful challenge sparks unnecessary publicity, harm

What started out as an internet joke has gone too far.

The “Tide Pod Challenge” can be seen all over the Internet, from Youtube, to Facebook, to Reddit, and other places.

This “challenge” started out as a joke. Someone said that Tide Pods looked like they would be satisfying to bite into. Then the Internet does what it always does and took things too far. At first, it was small things, such as a picture of a Tide Pod on a plate.

But eventually people started to wonder what it would actually be like to eat one.

Seriously, who wonders what it’s like to bite into a Tide Pod? It is laundry detergent. Is this what the world has come to, eating laundry detergent? Apparently we’re all children again, and we forgot that it’s extremely unsafe to ingest laundry detergent.

I get that it was a joke. It was funny for a little while,when it was just pictures on the Internet. But now people are suffering serious injury from this.

On the box for Tide Pods, it says to keep out of the reach of children and also includes what to do if ingestedTide-PODS

“If a product is swallowed, drink a glass of water or milk and contact the Poison Control Center (1-800-222-1222) or doctor immediately. Do not induce vomiting.”

They make it very clear that it is dangerous to ingest. So why do people still think it would be fine if they just took a big bite out of one?

So what happens to your body if you’re dumb enough to take a bite out of one?

First, the casing that holds the detergent is coated with a special substance called Bitrex (aka denatonium benzoate) to stop children from eating them. This causes the first bite to taste bitter, and your body may respond with nausea, preparing you to throw up before you even swallow.

When the liquid detergent comes in contact with you, it coats the cells that make up the outer layer membrane of your tongue. This pH kills the cells on contact. This begins a burning feeling in your mouth, causing a chemical burn, but not a physical one.

So if all that isn’t bad enough, you could cause permanent damage to your mouth.

If you take it another step farther and swallow, there’s even more damage you can cause. The back of your throat might begin to burn and swell, causing your throat to contract and close. Because this is the only path for oxygen to travel to the lungs, and the only route for carbon dioxide to exit the body, this will make you feel short of breath. In response, your impulse may be to inhale quickly or deeply. Paired with a lack of oxygen, you’ll get tired out easily.

By the time liquid from just one Tide Pod gets to your lower gastrointestinal tract, the concentration of the detergent will have reduced and will likely leave the lower esophagus, stomach, and intestines unscathed. However, in some cases, your stomach may produce extra acid, causing the sensation of heartburn and other irritation.

So is making a stupid internet joke really worth it? I just don’t understand why you would take a joke that far, knowing that it will cause you harm.

Author: Autumn Bippert

Editor-in-Chief of the Plainsman Press. I am a freshman Photojournalism student at SPC. I'm from Georgetown TX.

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